Consumer Vulnerability Strategy: Prepayment meters

Increasing numbers of consumers in the domestic energy market have prepayment meters (PPM). Our research shows that PPM customers tend to have high vulnerability representation.  

PPM customers face particular barriers to accessing better deals such as fewer competitive tariffs, installation, removal and warrant charges and upfront security deposits. We want to remove these barriers to make sure that prepayment customers can access better deals by switching to other PPM tariffs or to other payment methods, where appropriate.

In December 2015 we published our proposals to improve outcomes for prepayment customers. These proposals are designed to:

  • help PPM customers to access more competitive tariffs
  • address the costs consumers can face, ensuring these do not fall disproportionately on those least able to afford them, and
  • ensure that PPM customers are treated fairly by their energy providers

Prepayment meter price cap

From 1 April 2017, the amount of money a supplier can charge a domestic prepayment meter (PPM) customer will be subject to a transitional price cap. We are responsible for updating the cap every six months. The level of the cap for the most recent and any previous charge restriction periods can be found on our Prepayment meter price cap page. 

Debt Assignment Protocol

The Debt Assignment Protocol (DAP) is the mechanism that suppliers use to transfer debt between one another when an indebted PPM customer switches supplier.  We are overseeing industry-led reform of the DAP to help improve the experience of indebted PPM customers seeking to switch supplier.

Through the publications and update feed below you can access our publications and outputs produced in relation to prepayment meters.

Publications and updates

  • Published: 3rd Jul 2017
  • Closing: 29th Aug 2017
  • Consultations and responses
  • 5 Associated documents
This consultation invites stakeholder views on our proposed introduction of a new obligation through a supply licence condition addressing issues around the force-fitting of pre-payment meters under warrant.

  • Published: 14th Sep 2016
  • Closed: 9th Nov 2016
  • Consultations and responses
  • 28 Associated documents
This policy consultation outlines our final proposals for measures to protect consumers in the process of installation of PPM under warrant for non-payment of debt.

  • Published: 14th Sep 2016
  • Decisions
  • 0 Associated documents
In December we consulted on broad Proposals to improve outcomes for prepayment customers. We have produced a policy consultation on prepayment meters installed under warrant.

  • Published: 17th Dec 2015
  • Closed: 25th Feb 2016
  • Consultations and responses
  • 19 Associated documents
We identified in our prepayment meter (PPM) review in June that consumers with PPMs face particular barriers to accessing better deals in the market.

  • Published: 25th Jun 2015
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
We issued an information request to gas and electricity suppliers to better understand the barriers that prepayment customers face when trying to access competitively-priced energy deals. Our report outlines the key findings and next steps.

  • Published: 12th May 2015
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter sets out our decision following a statutory consultation on proposed modification to the standard licence condition (SLC) 14.6 of the gas and electricity supply licences.

  • Published: 26th Mar 2015
  • Agendas, minutes and presentations, Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
In October 2014 we hosted a roundtable to discuss prepayment and standard credit payment differentials and potential action that could be taken to support low income and vulnerable consumers who use these payment methods.

  • Published: 18th Dec 2014
  • Closed: 13th Feb 2015
  • Consultations and responses
  • 10 Associated documents
This letter comprises a statutory consultation on a proposed change to the licence condition 14.6.

  • Published: 22nd Sep 2014
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
We have reviewed the Debt Assignment Protocol – the industry process used to transfer debts between suppliers when indebted PPM customers try to switch. In this letter we set out the results of our review and the next steps to address the issues we have...

  • Published: 24th Sep 2012
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 2 Associated documents
This letter sets out the measures suppliers have agreed to take to increase the number of customers using the Debt Assignment Protocol, the process for prepayment meter customers switching supplier with a debt, following the completion of Ofgem's review.

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